After having plenty of success, Carson High grad Isabella Wakeling thought she was done playing soccer when her high school career ended.
That was until, Lake Tahoe Community College head coach Jeremy Evans came calling and told Wakeling she had a spot on the Coyote roster – with one exception.
Evans knew Wakeling had speed and a tenacity for scoring goals, but the LTCC head coach wanted Wakeling to change positions.
While at Carson High, Wakeling posted 23 goals and 10 assists in her first three years with the program, but Evans saw potential for the former Senator on the defensive line.
The Coyote head coach decided to move Wakeling to outside back as she joined the LTCC program.
“I had to put a lot of trust in Jeremy when he made my position switch,” said Wakeling. “I loved scoring goals. It was different for me, but I am so thankful that I was open to learning.”
Working into the change
There wasn’t any hesitation in Evans’ voice when asked about Wakeling’s quick success in her position change.
“The most coachable kid,” said Evans. “She’s probably the most fit player in the country. She always had a smile on her face, even during the worst conditioning days.”
From the beginning, Evans could tell his then new recruit was going to put in the work to be successful.
The LTCC head coach said Wakeling spent hours practicing, studying and asking questions about how she could improve as a player.
Wakeling even joked that she might have gotten on her teammates nerves with her desire to flawlessly figure out her new role.
“I probably annoyed my teammates and coaches with about 50 questions a training,” said Wakeling, “but asking helped me a lot.”
Successes from the switch
Having wrapped up her second and final season with the Coyotes, Wakeling helped lead LTCC to a state championship appearance, a state semifinal showing and two Golden Valley Conference titles.
The Coyotes – with Wakeling at outside back – went 41-2-6 over her tenure with the program and allowed 16 goals in that span, averaging one goal approximately every three games.
Wakeling was named by the United Soccer Coaches as a Division III first team all-American at defender and earned the GVC’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Along with winning awards on the field, Wakeling was also named a scholar all-American as well.
“I thought about quitting the sport altogether after graduating high school,” said Wakeling. “The honor just put into perspective for me how much can come from not giving up on something you love.”
“I think it just shows how special and unique she is,” said Evans. “She’s a special kid. She was going to stop playing and 12 to 15 months later she’s an all-American.”
The accomplishments have given Wakeling a new viewpoint of the sport, but the outgoing Coyote isn’t satisfied with her career just yet.
“I have more mountains I want to climb with my soccer career,” Wakeling said. “It’s a great achievement, but the qualities I discovered in myself as a person/player while chasing an accomplishment like that were even greater.”
Wakeling will continue her soccer career at NCAA Division I Long Beach State – playing in the Big West Conference – and will continue studying toward a degree in health science with the hopes of attending nursing school, following her graduation from LBSU.
After a possible change in heart could have stopped her playing days, Wakeling is now moving to play soccer in an area she’s always dreamed of.
“I have always dreamed of going to school right by the beach,” said Wakeling, who added that the staff and players with the program were invaluable in her decision. “I’m happy my path has led me this way with the help of my family, coaches and teammates.”